If you want to workout in hot weather, it’s critical to stay cool while running and exercising.
In warm and humid exercise conditions without precautions can be potentially fatal when your body temperature gets too high.
In this post, we’ll you’ll learn a few ways to beat the heat and stay cool while exercising in hot weather.
But first, let’s understand what happens when the body’s core temperature is too high.
What happens when the body’s core temperature is too high when running?
When the core body temperature rises too much above normal, the person may experience these heat illnesses.
The normal internal body temperature is around 98.6 degrees.
But when the internal temperature goes too far beyond 98.6 degrees, the person is likely to have heat illnesses.
Heat illnesses are on some sort of spectrum in that their severity increases as the core body temperature increases.
They, hence, may range from mildly discomforting to life-threatening. Some of these heat illnesses are:
Heat cramps aren’t particularly serious. They are caused by a loss in body fluids and electrolytes, and they reduce the efficiency at which work is done.
They also cause pain and spasms to the muscle. Heat cramps can be prevented by proper hydration and by taking sports drinks or beverages.
You probably know what dehydration is, but what you may not know is how dangerous it can be.
Anything higher than a 4% loss in body fluids will cause discomfort.
The discomfort may be in the form of dizziness, tiredness, or the person may be disoriented mentally.
This can be avoided by proper hydration before and after the run.
This is where things start to get worrying.
Heat exhaustion is characterized by dehydration, headaches, vomiting, and a body temperature of up to 104 degrees.
The moment you notice this, stop running immediately. Look for a cool place to cool off and drink something cold.
At this point, the person’s life is in danger. Medical attention is needed urgently.
Heatstroke may occur when the temperature of the body is usually above 105 degrees.
The person feels mentally disoriented, clumsy, and confused. Very little or no sweat at all is produced.
The body temperature of the person should be cooled with a cold bath.
How to stay cool while exercising in hot weather
Let’s go ahead and look at some of the easy ways you can stay cool when exercising in hot weather.
1. Be properly hydrated before, during, and after the run
Hydration is a crucial aspect of running. It can help you stay cool while running
Ensure you start your run hydrated and stay hydrated all through.
In one clinical study, researchers investigated the impact of cold water on exercise tolerance of heat-sensitive people.
The researchers enrolled 20 participants with multiple sclerosis. Participants ingested 3.2 mL·kg of either 1.5°C or 37°C water, every 15 minutes.
The results showed that cold water ingestion enhanced exercise tolerance of MS participants in the heat by about 30%.
Here’s the thing: you don’t have to drink water every two minutes, but you also shouldn’t wait till you are very thirsty.
As a rule of thumb, take a sip of water immediately you feel slight thirst.
2. Choose breathable clothes
In one study, researchers looked into the consensus recommendations on training and competing in the heat.
Their findings were published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.
The researchers suggest that clothing that has cooling effects present the advantage of lowering skin temperature and thus reducing cardiovascular strain and eventually heat storage.
Here’s the point:
The type of clothing you wear is vital. Follow this simple rule, ‘more is less.’
Wear as little clothing as possible. You also shouldn’t wear dark clothes or cotton.
3. Define your exercise goal
Exercising in the heat is different. Your body reacts differently and your work rate will only last for so long.
So before your start, set a goal for how long you want to exercise. In hot weather, shorter but intense workouts may be bearable.
Choose to workout for 20 minutes instead of 60 minutes. As your body adjusts to the heat of the time, you can increase the number of minutes.
This simple technique of keeping it short means your body will experience high temperatures only for a few minutes and then get back to a cooling mode.
Point is: don’t overdo it when it’s hot. Keep it simple.
4. Start and end your run slow
Your heart rate increases as you run. It is best to ensure that you gradually increase your heart rate and gradually reduce it too.
Therefore, it is essential to start slowly, as it gradually raises heart rate; and also, to end slowly, as it gradually reduces heart rate.
5. Don’t ignore frequent deep breathing
High environmental temperatures make exercising more difficult. This is because your body uses more energy to perform each set of exercises.
And the body uses energy from the oxygen we breathe in. This is why it’s critical to breathing deeply as much as possible during your exercise.
If it helps, take regular breaks just to breathe deeply, in and out.
Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth by allowing the air pas between your teeth. While exhaling, push your belly in.
This technique will introduce more air into your pelvic floor muscles and diaphragm pushing you to work faster and harder.
Breathing can regulate your temperature and help stay cool while running.
6. Run indoors
The final tip is to run indoors if the conditions outside are unbearable. And not just the conditions outside.
If you are just recovering from an illness, it may be safer to run on a treadmill indoor rather than exposing yourself to the unforgiving sun outside.
It’s important to stay cool while running in hot weather. And you’ll have to be intentional about the actions you take in this regard.
In addition to these tips, get to know your own limits. Please don’t overdo it. Know your limits and respect them.
The body isn’t a machine. When you notice severe heat exhaustion or signs of heatstroke, stop exercising and rest.